Tapestry from Söndra Råda Church © National Museum of History, Stockholm and Gabriel Hillebrand

Late Medieval Textile from Söndra Råda Church in Sweden

The church in Söndra Råda in Wärmland in Sweden burnt to the ground in 2003. Luckily, this piece of a late medieval tapestry had been deposited in Stockholm in 1960.

Tapestry from Söndra Råda Church © National Museum of History, Stockholm and Gabriel Hillebrand
Tapestry from Söndra Råda Church © National Museum of History, Stockholm and Gabriel Hillebrand

Now kept in The National Museum in Stockholm, this precious piece of a medieval tapestry was found in the old timber church in Söndra Råda in Värmland in Sweden in the 1920s. Later, it undervent a thorough conservation to be formally deposited in 1960

The double cloth is woven of linen and coarse red wool featuring two patterns. One consists of trees of life nested in a forest and topped with birds. The other features a four-legged animal, perhaps an elk. The tapestry is bordered with a simple meander. Before its rescue, it had been used as a cover of the altar and as such it is known in the literature. Originally, it mayhave been used as a tapestry covering a wall. Or – more likely – it was used as a pall to cover the casket or coffin at the burial. In the earliest inventory from 1702, the textile is mentioned as such. The tapestry measures 1,29 x 1,91 m and has been dated to the early 16th century.

The textile has been compared to other preserved tapestries in Norway and Sweden and has been identified as a local production inspired by early medieval patterned silks from the Middle East.

The textile is part of a small but precious collection of other textile fragments from the same church – a double weave fragment of a possible antependium from the later Middle Ages repaired with pieces of printed linen, likely from Germany (Nuremberg). However, the beiderwand-technique was known in Schleswig-Holstein in the 14th century and other production-centres may have been in play.

SOURCE:

Täcka av Textil, Inventarienummer 26459, Statens Historiska Museum Stockholm

READ MORE:

Senmedeltida textile I Söndra Råda Kyrka I Värmland.
By Vivi Sylwan
Fornvännen 1924, pp 175 -203

READ ALSO:

 

close

SUBSCRIBE

Get our weekly news about medieval research, books and exhibitions

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.